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Apartment Rejection: Why Your Application was Denied

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If feels pretty bad to apply for an apartment and then after a day or two you are notified that your application was denied. For many this doesn’t come as a surprise, but for the rest, it’s a slap in the face. 

So after you’re done feeling sorry for yourself, it’s time to find out why. If you’re lucky enough, the landlord will tell you. But some management companies simply say that based upon their algorithm your application came back rejected. It could be a number of things. Apartment complexes have usually have a specific set of criteria they will use to judge your application. 

  • For solutions to common rental problems check the bottom of this article.

Here are the top reasons you weren’t’ accepted

You don’t make enough money: Before you apply be sure you meet the income requirements. A vast majority of apartments require that you make a certain amount of money. Usually it’s about 3.5 times the monthly rent. If you don’t earn the minimum, apply for a cheaper apartment or look for a different complex. 

  • If the rent is $1000 a month, you would need to earn $3,500 monthly in order to pass this litmus test. 

Your Credit Score is Too Low: Believe it or not, many apartment management companies are now using your 3 digit score in the approval process. A credit score is simply how much risk you carry in the eyes of the lender. A low score might be indicative of derogatory accounts that are past due or simply too much debt. Either way, a low score can be raised. There are many methods you can use to accomplish this. 

Broken Lease:  Probably one of the worst items on a credit report in the eyes of an apartment is breaking an apartment lease.  A broken lease means simply that the renter left the property before fulfilling the terms of the lease. If you signed a 12 month lease and left after 10 months, then the landlord can report you to the credit bureaus. When you apply at the next apartment community, you can bet if they see this on your report, you will be denied. 

Criminal Background: A vast majority of larger apartment communities will deny a renter for a felony and a large amount of misdemeanors. Apartment owners and their respective management companies make this a requirement of their own. So of you have committed a crime, be sure and get with the leasing agent or apartment manager to determine if you will qualify before you apply. 

You Aren’t’ Who You Say You Are: Most of the larger communities use another service to screen their applicants. They are going to complete a full background and credit check. As hard as it is to believe some applicants will just lie on their application.  If a property catches anybody lying on their application, they will simply issue a rejection and move on. 

Too Many People Are Trying to Fit in One Space: Not many people realize that there is a maximum number of people that can live in a one, two, or three bedroom apartment. For example, if you are trying to apply for a one bedroom unit with 2 adults and 2 kids, you are probably going to get denied. 

Final Take-Aways

  • Be sure and go over the apartment approval process before you apply. Application fees can easily approach $100. Plus there are deposits you must be up at the time you apply. If you are denied you will not only lose your app fee, it can take several days to have your deposit returned to you. 
  • If you have poor rental history that includes broken leases and evictions, chances are the application will be denied. 
  • Every community will require that you earn a minimum amount of money based upon the cost of the apartment you want to rent. Be sure you do!
  • Try contacting a private owner or landlord who owns a home or a condo. Usually they aren’t as strict. Sometimes you can offer them a couple months rent in advance to clear up any issues.
  • If you have a broken lease, contact the previous management company. See what you can do to pay off the balances. Usually you negotiate favorable terms and have them remove this from your credit report.
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